Well, it's that time of the year again. Time for the greatest show on earth, when we head out for the tiny Northern Minnesota town of Waubun, where the nation's premier backyard game competition is held each year. The circus-like event is known as The Karl Invitational, mainly because it's a gathering of a bunch of clowns held at the home of two of the nicest ringmasters you'll ever meet - John and Diana Karl. The event kicks off Friday evening with ladder golf (aka Polish golf). I won this event back in the mid-2000's, so I've experienced the sweet taste of victory. I can tell you victory tastes good, and I'm ready for a second helping this year. It's been too long. Saturday consists of mixed doubles badminton, which typically involves a lot of inappropriate remarks from the guys about "launching my shuttlecock" or something equally juvenile. Incidentally, in case you are unaware, a shuttlecock is the high-drag projectile used in the game of badminton, and it's sometimes called a birdie... except at The Karl Invitational, where it is ALWAYS called a shuttlecock. If time permits, there could be some sort of disc golf skills competition. But the event culminates Saturday evening on the croquet court, with the first croquet match starting about an hour or two AFTER Kermit has already started making his infamous margaritas. I've managed to make it to the final heat for as long as I can remember - which ain't long considering the amount of margaritas consumed - but I've never come close to winning this event. Either John Karl or Matthew Myrold is crowned Croquet Grand Champion. In fact, I think the two take turns winning back-to-back titles... which sorta takes all the fun out of it for the rest of us. In addition to a gold medallion, the Grand Champion gets his/her very own custom t-shirt designed by Peter Karl. The photo above shows John's 2007 Grand Champion t-shirt. Diana is clutching his thigh while a dejected Matthew (wearing the Trojan helmet) looks up at a mighty John. Isn't this a sweet design? That's why I want my own t-shirt pretty bad.
Last year I placed a respectable 2nd at ladder golf, and 3rd in badminton with my friend - and one of my four faithful blog readers - Susan. I can still see the fear in Susan's eyes as she watched me fly around the court swatting at any shuttlecock within reach. She just tried to stay out of my way, and I'm surprised I never knocked her over. Or did I? Anyway, it's been a while since I won an event, but that hasn't stopped me from talking trash year after year after year. Apparently, talking trash is the only thing I'm good at these days. Oh, and watching TV. I'm pretty good at watching TV, too.
We'll be leaving here in about 10 hours. I haven't been blogging the last couple days because I've been out in the garage building a brand new trophy case for all the awards I plan to bring home this year. Plus, I'm making sure to leave enough room for future awards since I know there will be plenty more to come once I get in my groove... or as soon as Peter Karl starts giving out awards for the whitest legs or best one-handed croquet shooter. If that ever happens, I like my chances.